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First three F-16V fighter jets head to Bahrain

7th March 2024 - 12:05 GMT | by The Shephard News Team in London


Bahrain has been an important partner for the US and is also the home of the US Navy’s Fifth Fleet headquarters. (Photo: Lockheed Martin)

Bahrain, long an operator of F-16s within the Gulf Cooperation Council, will become the first customer to adopt the newest and most advanced configuration of the renowned Lockheed Martin F-16 fighter.

The first three Lockheed Martin F-16 Block 70 (also known as F-16V) fighter jets have departed the manufacturer’s South Carolina facility for delivery to Bahrain.

The country was the first F-16 operator in the Gulf Cooperation Council beginning in the early 1990s and is the first customer to procure what Lockheed Martin called the “newest and most advanced F-16 production configuration”. Bahrain signed a US$1.2 billion contract in 2017 for the procurement of 16 new F-16 Viper Block 70 aircraft.

Lockheed said it has so far produced five of the fighters, with an additional 11 in various stages of production and testing.

“With the introduction of the F-16 Block 70, we are witnessing a significant leap in fighter capabilities,” said OJ Sanchez, VP and GM of the integrated fighter group at Lockheed Martin. “The integration of this proven platform will allow the Royal Bahraini Air Force to safeguard its skies effectively and partner with allies worldwide.”

The Block 70/72 currently has a planned backlog of 133 jets, but Lockheed Martin told Shephard last month that it has been calculating with these numbers and was executing orders per plan.

Bahrain has been an important partner for the US and has been home of the US Navy’s Fifth Fleet headquarters. It currently operates 20 F-16 Block 40 jets. The latest configuration of the fourth-generation fighter will considerably increase the country's air power.

The Shephard News Team


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